Bottler Coca-Cola HBC mulls other options for Russian business

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A Coca-Cola logo is pictured during an event in Paris, France, March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

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May 12 (Reuters) – Soft drinks bottler Coca-Cola HBC AG (CCH.L) said on Thursday it will evaluate all options for its Russian operations and have a smaller presence in the country, focussing on local brands.

The bottler, which counts Russia as one of its biggest markets, is also working closely with Coca-Cola (KO.N) to implement the U.S. beverage company’s decision to suspend its business in the region and stop orders for concentrates.

HBC is one of Coca-Cola’s many bottlers worldwide and holds local Coca-Cola franchises to bottle and sell drinks produced by the beverage giant. Coca-Cola holds a roughly 21% stake in HBC.

The London-listed company said organic revenue in the first-quarter rose 25.9%, excluding Russia and Ukraine.

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Reporting by Amna Karimi in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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